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[Demographic aging and local activities. Study carried out at the request of and with the cooperation of the Authority for Resource Development and Regional Action (DATAR)] Vieillissement de la population et activites locales. Etude effectuee a la demande et avec le concours de la DATAR
Paris, France, Institut National d'Etudes Demographiques [INED], 1985. viii, 318 p. (INED Travaux et Documents Cahier no. 109)This study of the impact of demographic aging on local economic activities in rural France is based on fieldwork and analysis in 3 arrondissements selected for their geographic, demographic, and economic diversity: Saint-Girons in the Pyrenees, in which 40% of the population was aged 65 or over, Rochefort on the Atlantic Coast, a traditional attraction for retired persons, and Forcalquier in Provence, which had a higher rate of population growth in the study period than the other areas. The 1st part of the volume consists of a comparative analysis of the relationship between demographic aging and local economic activity in the 3 areas, and also analyzes the process of demographic aging. The 2nd part examines the viewpoints of local authorities and others interviewed personally and by mail concerning problems resulting from demographic aging. During the period under study, 1962-75, the trend toward population aging was always greater in rural than in urban areas, and the rural population showed a tendency to concentrate in specific zones rather than dispersing throughout the sparsely populated territory. The aging trend was more marked in the more urban communes of rural areas. In all 3 arrondissements, overall contractions in the economically active population were always due exclusively to the rural communes, and when there were increases in the active population they were stronger in urban than in rural communes. Only a minority of communes in the 3 arrondissements had increased activity rates between 1962-75. The total active population tended to become younger during the study period because of both the entry of younger workers and the departure of older workers. Women played a preponderant role in the labor force changes in all 3 arrondissements, and the role of agriculture became less important in all 3. Saint-Girons was, in the view of its inhabitants, the arrondissement most lacking in resources and services to assure a good quality of life. Decision makers in all 3 areas expressed a need for new economic activities to revitalize their communities, but few were in favor of increasing the population of elderly as an "activity". Demographic aging appeared to hamper local activity by rendering the affected areas inhospitable to innovation and renewal.